We’ve had a fantastic time this summer reading books from Jamie Martin’s Give Your Child the World with this book club and are excited to participate in a global link up! We’ve loved learning about growing up in other parts of the world and are excited to share about life in the United States’ desert southwest.
– Tell us about your family.
We are the Hadden family. Dad- Kelly, mom- Dayna, and kids: Alladene- age 8, Joanna- age 6, & Jeremiah- age 3. Kelly is an administrator at a local high school and Dayna is a former pediatric intensive care RN, currently a full-time homeschooling mom.
– Tell us about where you live and how long you’ve lived there.
We live in Tucson, Arizona, USA. Kelly is originally from Ponca City, OK and has lived in Tucson for about 25 years. Dayna hails from Frederick, MD and has lived in Tucson for about 20 years. The kids are born and raised “desert rats”(a proud distinction around here!)
– What do you think is unique and special about living where you do?
Tucson is in the middle of the Sonoran desert, which is a very specific and relatively “lush” type of desert. The Sonoran desert is home to many unique creatures (such as roadrunners, Gila Monsters, bighorn sheep) and many different types of cactus, including the iconic Saguaro cactus.
Tucson is a geographically large city with each “side” of town having its’ own flavor. The city is bordered on all sides by beautiful mountain ranges- the Catalinas, Rincons, Tortlitas, & Santa Ritas to name a few.
Otherwise known as “the Old Pueblo,” Tucson is home to the University of Arizona (Go wildcats!), and Davis Monthan Air Force base.
– What languages are spoken there? If it’s different from English, can you help us learn a few common phrases?
Most people here speak English or Spanish and many people are bilingual. You also hear people speaking a variety of Native American languages such as Tohono O’odham (Papago & Pima).
– What are some traditional foods there?
Living this close to the border we have super-authentic and delicious Mexican food. Tucson has both an innovative contemporary restaurant scene and local traditional foods like Indian fry bread and raspados. You can grab a “Sonoran Dog” (bacon-wrapped hotdog smothered in toppings and served on a traditional roll) at many food trucks or local taco stands.
– Tell us about the climate where you live.
The climate here is that of the desert with at least some sunshine nearly every day of the year. The temperature can drop 20+ degrees from day to night. We have mild winters and really hot reaching 110+ degrees) summers. July and August bring refreshing relief from the heat with a dramatic monsoon (rainy) season.
We love that we have the ability to experience different climates just a short drive away. It’s an hour or so to the mountains, a few hours to the beach, and a few hours to the Grand Canyon.
The public school district in which we live follows a modified “year-round” schedule. Summer break is about 6 weeks long with quarterly 2 week long breaks in other parts of the year. It’s a great way to be inside during the extreme heat and take advantage of the gorgeous fall, winter, and spring for family vacations.
– What does school look like for your family?
Our family currently enjoys a homeschooling lifestyle. We love to read and learn together. We’re blessed by a flourishing homeschool community here in Tucson. We participate in extracurricular activities and go on field trips all around our great city and state. We roughly follow the school calendar of the district in which we live.
– Are there any special festivals or traditions you’d like to tell us about related to where you live?
Dia de Los Muertos is a big fall tradition around here with many families gathering to honor their heritage and the lives of their deceased loved ones. Some families picnic in the cemetery or participate in a big parade downtown.
Fiesta de Los Vaqueros in February is our big rodeo and all local kids are off school for a couple extra days.
We also boast the incredible 2 day Tucson Festival of Books each spring at the University. It’s HUGE with authors and bibliophiles from all over the world.
– If you ever had to move away from where you live, what do you think you’d miss most?
We would miss the smell of the desert when it rains, the awe-inspiring sunsets, and the laid-back outdoorsy lifestyle.
We enjoy the mixture of wild outdoors (and lots of park land) and nearby thriving metropolis with museums, sports, and arts.
– Do you have a favorite book that takes place in your region/country?
Sadly, we don’t have a book we really love that takes place in our region. While there isn’t a “story” type book that has captured our imagination, there are lots of great informational books about the Sonoran desert. A few of these are: Way Out in the Desert by T.J. Marsh & Jennifer Ward, Cactus Hotel by Brenda Guiberson, Don’t Call Me Pig! A Javelina Story by Conrad J. Storad, The 100 Year Old Cactus by Anita Holmes.
If you can’t get enough of Tucson, check out my friend Stephanie’s post 45 Reasons to Move to Tucson.
It’s been a great education and a lot of fun this summer to explore the world as a part of this book club. What a wonderful way to learn about and pray for, other cultures and families!